Sorting is one of my favorite activities to do with young people in the library at the beginning of the school year. It encourages scientific and critical thinking and it’s a great way to reinforce the concepts of the Dewey Decimal system. Each year I place piles of different types of books on the library tables and my only instruction to students is to work together to “sort the books.” I give them 2 minutes to sort the books and then I ask for a group member to share how they sorted the books and why. Most of my younger students will sort according to color and size. The older students are more sophisticated and tend to sort by subject. I repeat this procedure until we have completed 3-4 cycles of sorting. By this time, it becomes challenging to figure out new ways to sort the books…but this is where their creativity comes to play. Try this activity with your little ones and see what they come up with.
This Big Universe title, Sort it Out!, by Barbara Mariconda is a perfect book to read just before the sorting activity.